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Tidal Bay tops Grand National weights

ESPN staff
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Tidal Bay and Ruby Walsh delivered the goods in the Lexus Chase © Getty Images
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Tidal Bay will have to shoulder top weight of 11st 10lb if he is to claim Grand National glory in April.

The enigmatic chaser has looked a horse transformed under the care of Paul Nicholls this season, with his most recent outing being in the Lexus Chase in Ireland over the Christmas period.

He swerved a recent outing at Cheltenham and has the World Hurdle as his Festival target, but Nicholls has also spoken positively about letting the 12-year-old take his chance at Aintree.

The weights have been released and as expected, the Graham Wylie-owned former Arkle Trophy winner has been allocated top weight. His official mark is 171 but has been rated on 162 by handicapper Phil Smith, who is allowed to use his discretion in framing the National weights, meaning he is officially well in.

Nicholls also has Join Together (10st 12lb), What A Friend (11st 5lb) and Harry The Viking (10st 2lb) engaged, while Wylie has two other potential strings to his bow in On His Own (10st 10lb) and Prince De Beauchene (11st 3lb), both of whom are trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland.

A strong Irish-trained entry of 31 features the Ted Walsh-trained pair of Seabass (11st 2lb) and Colbert Station (10st 11lb).

Sunnyhillboy was beaten in agonising fashion in last year's National and he will have has 11st on his back this term compared to 10st 5lb in 2012, while Ballabriggs, successful in the 2011 iteration, is another on 11st.

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